Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki raises his hands with members of his State of Law coalition after addressing supporters at Al-Mina Stadium during a visit to Basra, in southern Iraq, this month. Iraq is due to hold general elections on March 7, and the incumbent faces strong competition from an alliance of Iranian-backed parties. hide caption

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An Iraqi man walks past posters with a symbolic X across a picture of Iraqi lawmaker Dhafir al-Ani, a Sunni politician who was barred from running in the election because of alleged ties to the Baath party. Alaa al-Marjani/AP hide caption

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Iraqis holding pictures of Saddam Hussein march during a protest against the new constitution of Iraq near Ramadi in 2005. Bilal Hussein/AP hide caption

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In this Jan. 20 photo, an Iraqi man in Najaf, south of Baghdad, walks past posters for Iraqi lawmaker Dhafir al-Ani, a Sunni politician who had been barred from running in the March 7 parliamentary election because of alleged ties to the Baath Party. The Arabic says, "No return for the Baathists." An Iraqi appeals court Wednesday suspended the ban on hundreds of candidates for suspected ties to Saddam Hussein's regime, allowing them to run in the election. Alaa al-Marjani/AP hide caption

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Trucks carrying goods from Iran to Iraq queue for inspection about 90 miles from the southeastern Iraqi city of Amara. These days, Iraqi truckers face more delays than mortal danger while working, but life remains a challenge. Essam al-Sudani/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Essam al-Sudani/AFP/Getty Images